Erica P. Burns
Director of Communications
Louisiana Restaurant Association
Baton Rouge, LA - Well-Ahead Louisiana, an initiative of the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana Restaurant Association, and Ochsner Eat Fit have partnered together to provide healthy dining options in restaurants across the state.
"Louisiana is renowned for its food and culture, but we also have the highest obesity rates in the nation and lead the nation in other preventable chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke," Melissa R. Martin, Director of the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Louisiana Department of Health said. "Our unique partnerships with the Louisiana Restaurant Association and Ochsner Eat Fit provide opportunities to help residents make smarter and healthier food choices at a time when Americans are dining out more than ever."
Restaurants can help create a culture of wellness for our state by joining the Louisiana Restaurant Association and participating in healthy iniative like Well-Ahead Louisiana and Ochsner¬ Eat Fit. The Well-Ahead Louisiana initiative recognizes places and spaces that make it easier for Louisiana residents to live well. These places are designated as "WellSpots." Restaurants are designated as WellSpots when they achieve wellness benchmarks that include things like: promoting healthy menu options as the daily special, having all side dishes default to healthy options, and accommodating for the dietary restrictions of patrons. The Ochsner Eat Fit iniative gives restaurants the opportunity to work with registered dietitians to offer and highlight nutritious menu items with the Eat Fit seal of approval.
"March marks the beginning of Lent, observed by many Louisiana residents, and kicks off National Nutrition Month. As many Louisiana residents are renewing their New Year's healthy resolutions, we encourage restaurants to partner with Well-Ahead Louisiana and Ochsner Eat Fit," said Stan Harris, President and CEO of the Louisiana Restaurant Association. "Over 70 restaurants are designated as WellSpots. By making small changes that help Louisiana residents live well, these restaurants are bettering our state's health outcomes.
The latest restaurants to receive WellSpot designation are SoBou, Commander's Palace, and Café Adelaide in New Orleans.
To become a WellSpot, restaurant owners can visit www.wellaheadla.com and click ‘become a WellSpot.' They will then be connected with a Well-Ahead Louisiana team member who will assist them in meeting benchmarks and becoming designated.
Residents who want to be more health-conscious when eating out should ask restaurants about their healthy menu options, as they may not be listed on the regular menu. Residents can also search the WellSpot network for designated restaurants near them here.
About Well-Ahead Louisiana:
Well-Ahead Louisiana is an initiative started by the Louisiana Department of Health aimed at improving the health and wellness of Louisiana residents. Well-Ahead Louisiana promotes and recognizes smart choices in the spaces and places we live and work every day that make it easier for us all to live healthier lives, from going tobacco-free to ensuring healthy lunch options or supporting workplace fitness programs. To learn more visit www.wellaheadla.com or follow us on Facebook @Well-Ahead Louisiana or on LinkedIn @Well-Ahead Louisiana.
About Louisiana Restaurant Association:
The Louisiana Restaurant Association is one of the largest business organizations in the state, representing restaurant operations and related businesses. The restaurant industry in Louisiana is the state's largest private employer, providing jobs to more than 200,000 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana are expected to generate sales of $8.9 billion in 2017. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from www.lra.org.
About Ochsner Eat Fit:
Ochsner Eat Fit is a nonprofit initiative of Ochsner Health System. The Eat Fit Mission is to make the healthy choice the easy choice, with the goal of helping the people of our communities live their healthiest, strongest lives possible. Ochsner Eat Fit is designed specifically for people who want to indulge without the guilt, meeting the community where they are and providing dishes that are both nutritious and delicious!
The Eat Fit team of dietitians collaborates with local restaurant owners and chefs, as well as corner markets, event venues, and other foodservice establishments to develop dishes that meet the Ochsner Eat Fit nutritional criteria - these items are identified directly on the menu with the Eat Fit seal of approval. ..
For more information about this free program, please visit www.OchsnerEatFit.com or download the Fit NOLA | Eat Fit NOLA smartphone app for more information about Ochsner Eat Fit, and to find participating restaurants in your area.